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Why Singapore Wants Its Food Courts to Be Run by Machines, Not People

  • Aging population, immigration curbs limiting growth potential
  • Government agency rewarding productivity plans in food courts
A vendor barbecues satay at the Lau Pa Sat food court in Singapore.

A vendor barbecues satay at the Lau Pa Sat food court in Singapore.

Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg
Updated on

Singapore’s latest quest to boost productivity is playing out at a busy food court in the second terminal of Changi Airport.

There, hungry passengers can select their chicken rice or bowl of noodles from a machine, pay with a credit card and collect their food -- all with minimal human interaction and in stark contrast with the abundant manpower commonly used in food courts elsewhere on the island.